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Why the Capability Approach?

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  • Sabina Alkire

Abstract

In addressing operational challenges such as poverty or economic development, many researchers and practitioners wish to build upon insights raised by Sen's capability approach and related writings. This paper argues that the comprehensive reach and foundation of the human development and capability approach has a value independent from and additional to their practical outworkings, and yet also that operational specifications are both possible and vital to the further development of the approach. The paper begins with a thumbnail sketch of the core concepts of the capability approach, and supplements these with additional informational and principle requirements that Sen argues to be necessary for a more complete assessment of a state of affairs. It traces some important avenues along which the Human Development Reports and other empirical studies have operationalized certain aspects of Sen's capability approach. The paper then articulates further developments that might be expected, arguing that such developments must also build upon cutting edge research in other fields. It also identifies certain 'value judgments' that are inherent to the capability approach and should not be permanently dismissed by some methodological innovation.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/146498805200034275
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 6 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 115-135

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:6:y:2005:i:1:p:115-135

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Related research

Keywords: Amartya Sen; Capabilities; Capability approach; Development economics; Human development; Poverty; Well-being;

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Citations

RePEc Biblio mentions

As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Economics, Ethics, and Culture > Social justice > Liberal theories > Capabilities
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Cited by:
  1. Sachie Mizohata & Raynald Jadoul, 2013. "Towards International and Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration for the Measurements of Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 683-708, May.
  2. Flavio Comim & Pushpam Kumar & Nicolas Sirven, 2009. "Poverty and environment links: An illustration from Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 447-469.
  3. Christian Nadjiarabeye BEASSOUM & Olivier BEGUY, 2012. "Pauvrete Des Capacites Au Tchad : Une Exploration Des Dimensions Manquantes Des Donnees Dans La Capitale N’Djamena," Working Papers PMMA 2011-17, PEP-PMMA.
  4. Ming-Chang Tsai & Heng-Hao Chang & Wan-chi Chen, 2012. "Globally Happy: Individual Globalization, Expanded Capacities, and Subjective Wellbeing," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 509-524, September.
  5. Kévin André, 2013. "Applying the Capability Approach to the French Education System: An Assessment of the "Pourquoi pas moi ?" Programme," Post-Print hal-00880246, HAL.
  6. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2011. "Sugden’s critique of Sen’s capability approach and the dangers of libertarian paternalism," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 21-42, March.
  7. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Empirische Studien zum Capability Ansatz auf der Grundlage von Befragungen: Ein Überblick," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  8. Karen Hofmann & Dominik Schori & Thomas Abel, 2013. "Self-Reported Capabilities Among Young Male Adults in Switzerland: Translation and Psychometric Evaluation of a German, French and Italian Version of a Closed Survey Instrument," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 723-738, November.
  9. André, Kévin, 2013. "Applying the Capability Approach to the French Education System: An Assessment of the "Pourquoi pas moi ?"," ESSEC Working Papers WP1316, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  10. Gasper, D.R. & Truong, T-D., 2010. "Movements of the ‘we’: international and transnational migration and the capabilities approach," ISS Working Papers - General Series 495, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  11. Luc Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2012. "Using Capabilities as an Alternative Indicator for Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 106(1), pages 133-152, March.
  12. Béassoum, Christian N., 2011. "Pauvreté régionale au Tchad en 2003: une situation de référence revisitée
    [Chad regional poverty profile in 2003: revisiting a baseline]
    ," MPRA Paper 34505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Benedetta Giovanola, 2009. "Re-Thinking the Anthropological and Ethical Foundation of Economics and Business: Human Richness and Capabilities Enhancement," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(3), pages 431-444, September.
  14. Gasper, Des, 2007. "What is the capability approach?: Its core, rationale, partners and dangers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 335-359, June.
  15. Hasan, Hamid, 2009. "Capabilities measurement: an empirical investigation," MPRA Paper 16742, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 Aug 2009.
  16. Claudia Kettner & Angela Köppl & Sigrid Stagl, 2014. "Towards an operational measurement of socio-ecological performance," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 52, WWWforEurope.
  17. Valeria Costantini & Salvatore Monni, 2006. "Gender disparities in Italy from a Human Development Perspective," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0069, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
  18. Polishchuk, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2011. "Ecosystem effects on well-being: More than just "benefits"? Looking at ecosystem services through the capability approach," UFZ Discussion Papers 6/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  19. Sevinc Rende & Murat Donduran, 2013. "Neighborhoods in Development: Human Development Index and Self-organizing Maps," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 721-734, January.
  20. Costantini, Valeria & Monni, Salvatore, 2009. "Gender disparities in the Italian regions from a human development perspective," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 256-269, March.
  21. Mary Breheny & Christine Stephens & Fiona Alpass & Brendan Stevenson & Kristie Carter & Polly Yeung, 2013. "Development and Validation of a Measure of Living Standards for Older People," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 1035-1048, December.
  22. Van Ootegem, Luc & Spillemaeckers, Sophie, 2010. "With a focus on well-being and capabilities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 384-390, June.
  23. Alkire, Sabina, 2008. "Choosing Dimensions: The Capability Approach and Multidimensional Poverty," MPRA Paper 8862, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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